Mylar Balloons – Bad For Environment & Your Conscience

Mylar Balloons – Bad For Environment & Your Conscience
November 22, 2022 Sabine Schoenberg

Mylar balloons have marked celebrations from birthdays, weddings, graduations, and more for decades.  But they are not degradable and therefore bad for the environment and present a fire hazard. Mylar balloons are one item to do without. Why? Did you know that

                (1) Mylar balloons do not – never (!) decompose, and

                (2) Lose mylar balloons have been known to start fires?  

Eliminating mylar balloons from your next celebration should be put on SHGLiving’s DoOneThing campaign.  That’s how important it is to forgo the use of mylar balloons.

Mylar Balloons And The Environment

Sailors like my friend Gary Silberberg will tell you that they routinely see lots of balloons floating in the waters near our shores.  It has become a common event. He fishes as many as he can out of the water. Gary is about to petition Connecticut politicians to ban the outdoor use of mylar balloons. In addition to the unsightly side of garbage floating in the water, there are serious dangers to marine animals who have been known to mistake deflated balloons for food. Earth 911 reports that

“Sea turtles are particularly vulnerable, as balloons are easily confused for their jellyfish prey. Once ingested, balloons can cause stomach or intestinal blockages, eventually leading to starvation. The strings or ribbons attached to balloons can be just as dangerous. Birds become entangled, and sea turtles, seals, and dolphins have flippers and fins snared — their movement is restricted, and their ability to feed is compromised. These entanglements can cause infections, amputations, starvation, drowning, and death.”

Helium – Second Environmental Consideration in Mylar Balloons

Finally, helium, the gas used to inflate balloons is a mined gas. While mining is polluting in and of itself helium is a gas used in many medical instruments and applications. The competition for helium has increased the price of helium making valuable medical applications pricier.

Now that you know about the multiple negative environmental sides to mylar balloons, there is yet one more: Fires from mylar balloons.

Mylar Balloons Are Fire Hazards

The city of Riverside CA reports “…Mylar balloons are the metallic shiny, silver-like balloons which cause thousands of power outages each year when they float away and come into contact with power lines.”

Many other communities coast-to-coast report similar tragedies from mylar balloons starting fires around the country. It is why mylar balloons are prohibited in many parts of the country. Many other towns across the country have initiatives to prohibit the use of mylar balloons. 

Would you like to know that a mylar balloon from your celebration inadvertently got loose and tangled up in overhead electric lines where it started a fire and, worse, burnt down someone’s home?

Your Conscience-Be The Change

For the sake of the environment, animals, and fire prevention, mylar balloons are one item to forego.  Find more suggestions on DoOneThing. Make one of the suggestions one of your 2023 New Year’s resolution AND follow through. Skipping mylar balloons is a no-brainer and super simple to do for Mother Earth and your community.

Photo by Grant Durr